Great Ride updates – Autumn 2023

Published 2023-03-15

Here’s the latest news roundup from Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand. Read on for even more reasons to get riding this autumn – including trail improvements, new websites, exciting events and competitions.
Awesome events on the Great Rides

Whether you're looking for easy ride, keen to test your mettle on an ultra marathon, or simply looking to mix up your cycling with some fine food and wine, there's an event for you. 

If you love adventure, are keen to meet new people and thrive on a bit of competition, or want to push your limits, why not enter one of these memorable events this autumn? Or, get training and sign up for an event later in the year; view the full Great Rides events calendar here.

Bike the Trail – Remutaka Cycle Trail (26 March)

Bike the Trail is fun for all the family and an opportunity to ride the beautiful Hutt River section of the Remutaka Cycle Trail, in a fully supported event with great company! The gentle 25km course is suitable riders of all ages and abilities.

All smiles on the Remutaka Cycle Trail's Bike the Trail event.

Ohakune Carrot Rocket Launch – Mountains to Sea Ngā Ara Tūhono (01 April)

3....2...1... we have lift off! Yes this is on April Fools Day, and no it isn't a joke. Make your way to Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail hub-town Ohakune and help them launch their 5.3m carrot rocket. There will be food, produce and carrot-themed gifts, face painting and give aways at this fun-filled event. Find out more here and check out the barmy backstory and viral video. This beautiful Ruapehu resort town is also the starting point for one of New Zealand's best day rides – the Ohakune Old Coach Road. 

Whakarewarewa Forest Loop fundraiser (22 April 2023)

Sign up for The Forest Loop Chopper Ride & First Response Relay – a brand-new event and fantastic fundraiser on Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Forest Loop. Complete two loops of this 33km Great Ride as an individual or in teams of two or four. All proceeds go directly to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and First Response Unit – awesome charities keeping folk safe on the trails and beyond.

Clyde Harvest Wine and Food Festival (09 April)

Located at the start/finish of two Great Rides – the Otago Central Rail Trail and Lake Dunstan Trail – this delectable festival is held every Easter Sunday. Celebrate with fine wines from the world's most southerly vineyards, with food to match, and live music to sing along and dance to.

Paddy and PAC-MAN – colourful characters abound at the Clyde festival (Lee Slater).

South Island ULTRA Marathon (13 May) and Hawke's Bay Marathon (20 May)

May is the month for long-distance runners with two epic events – the South Island ULTRA centred around the West Coast Wilderness Trail and super-scenic Hawke's Bay Marathon. Have you got what it takes...?

Help the Alps 2 Ocean celebrate its 10th anniversary

Congratulations to the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail – New Zealand's longest Great Ride, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. This landmark was celebrated in style with a lunch attended by the original visionary team and the current Joint Committee. The teams celebrated the milestone, as well as shared trail stories and future plans. Read about the A2O's fascinating first 10 years here.

A2O's 10th anniversary celebration lunch at Lake Ohau Lodge (David MacFarlane).

But the celebrations don't stop there! The trail are running a photo competition on social media where you can share your A2O photos from the last 10 years and be in to win Waitaki wine, a cafe voucher and some quality A2O merch. Find out more and enter via the trail's Facebook page or Instagram feed, and use the hashtag #A2Otenyears. Competition ends 31 May.

The Aoraki/Mount Cook section of the A2O (Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail).

Also, look out for nine signs that will be installed along the trail this autumn, retelling the tales from the last 10 years. Keep an eye on the A2O Facebook page and join in the signs treasure hunt with the chance to win some fantastic prizes.

Judith the rock-crusher put to work on the Coppermine Trail

The Coppermine Trail – Nelson's fantastic sub-alpine mountain biking day-ride – was battered by the August storms with significant damage caused by slips and flooding. The full loop is open to riders, with detours in place, but is rough and ready in places, and is best suited to experienced advanced mountain bikers with good fitness and a sense of adventure. Intermediate riders can, however, get a taste of the Coppermine on a return ride from the Brook Street start to the Four Corners (425m elev.) where there are great views back towards Nelson

The thrilling downhill section from the Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam is very rough at the moment, pushing it from its normal grade 4 (advanced) level to grade 5 (expert) in some places.

Fret not though! Judith the rock-crusher is coming to the rescue! Judith will be choppered into the Coppermine Trail as part of a new, regular maintenance programme that should see this wonderful section of  trail back to its proper level of awesomeness in time for spring and summer.

Judith the red rock crusher – reporting for duty! (Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust).

In the meantime, there's still plenty of fantastic mountain biking around Nelson, including Codgers MTB Park at the Brook Street start of the Coppermine, and a heap of more cruisy options on Tasman's Great Taste Trail.

Visit the official trail website for the latest updates on the Coppermine. 

Come rain or shine the Great Taste Trail is fine

Nelson's other Great Ride, the Tasman's Great Taste Trail, is installing a series of shelters after listening to recurrent feedback from riders who were keen to see more protection from the elements on the trail's remote sections. Four of the six shelters have already been installed with the project scheduled for completion in May.

In the true spirit of community collaboration, longtime trail supporters the Nelson Rotary Club has donated labour to help build the shelters – ka pai! 

One of the Great Taste Trail's new shelters (Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust).

Other projects planned for the Great Taste Trail include new signage, more off-road sections, and new bridges and boardwalk. For the latest trail updates, visit the official trail website and Facebook page.

Adding colour to the Roxburgh Gorge Trail

Riders on the Roxburgh Gorge Trail can now learn more about the area's fascinating natural and human history in a series of new information panels. Local trail trust secretary and project coordinator Barrie Wills is thrilled with how the new panels looks, 'With rider numbers on the rise, these great new panels are a great asset for the future.'  

Great new info panel in the Roxburgh Gorge (Barrie Wills).

The region's rich tales can also be heard on the exhilarating jet boat ride that joins the two Roxburgh Gorge Trail sections. This Great Ride's official partners, including boat operators, can be found here

Central Otago Trail Hub website

A new Central Otago Trail Hub website was launched recently. A collaboration between four regional tourism organisations and Otago's five Great Rides, the new site brings together a collection of inspiring stories, useful tips and tricks, itineraries, news and events from the region's cycling and walking trails.

Get the lowdown from local experts, and whet your appetite for Central Otago cycling and walking with some spectacular photography.

Trail Hub website screenshot

The new Central Otago Trail Hub website (

Check out these articles for a taster of the site: 'In pictures – the Roxburgh Gorge Trail', 'Cycle Trail Etiquette' and 'Award-winning food along the trails'

Queen Charlotte Track fully open to bikers

Whoop-whoop, the full 73.5km Queen Charlotte Track, from Meretoto/Ship Cove to Anakiwa, is open again to mountain bikers. Riders can enjoy the entirety of this Great Ride until December 1st when the section between Meretoto and Camp Bay is closed to bikers for the peak summer season.

If you're keen to knock off one of New Zealand's classic mountain biking adventures, read this article for all you need to know, and remember to 'share the track' with care and respect other trail users, giving way to walkers.

Share the track signage

Share with care – stay in control and give way to walkers (Lee Slater).

New Lake Dunstan scenic boat trip

Why not take your Lake Dunstan Trail experience to the next level with a scenic boat trip? The new Lake Dunstan Explorer transports riders with bikes (and walkers) to the start of the trail in Cromwell or Clyde, or alternatively picks you up at the end of your journey and transports you back to your start point.

If you're not up for completing the whole trail, there's also an option for getting dropped off at Burger Afloat near the halfway point. 

The Lake Dunstan Trail – one of the most spectacular Great Rides of New Zealand (Lake Dunstan Explorer).

Experiencing the beauty of the lake and gorge from the water as well as the trail will blow your mind. The Lake Dunstan Explorer is owned and operated by local Andrew who is keen to share the landscapes he loves and the fascinating human and natural histories of this special place. This isn't a shuttle service, it's an adventure all of its own!

Find out more and book your boat trip here.

New website for Queenstown Trails

The Queenstown Trails have got themselves a brand-new website showcasing the Queenstown Trail Great Ride and all the other trails that make up the region's enviable off-road biking network. The site is packed full of trail descriptions, maps, itineraries, inspiring photos, upcoming events and all you need to plan your biking holiday in New Zealand's original adventure playground.

Check out the new website here. We love the Trails' motto of 'Inspiring adventures, creating experiences, connecting people!'

Queenstown Trails website screenshot

The new, smart-looking Queenstown Trails website (

Complete our surveys and be in to win

Have you ridden a Great Ride recently? Tell us what you think and you'll go in the monthly draw to win a Kennett Brothers cycling guidebook. Your feedback counts and will help make the Great Rides even greater – more info means more fun for all.

Click this survey link and simply select the appropriate Great Ride; surveys should only take around 10 minutes. If you've been on more than one trail, feel free to complete a survey for all the ones you've ridden – the more surveys you fill out the more chances you have to win!

Ngā mihi nui. Pedal on!

Looking for more autumn cycling inspiration? Check out these new articles:

Autumn – a fine time to ride

Biking holidays on a budget

Cyclone Gabrielle – Great Rides update

Discover all 23 Great Rides of New Zealand here.